The U.S. has seen no significant signs that North Korea is readying a nuclear test, a senior military official said, responding to questions about a Reuters report from Beijing that the reclusive regime has "almost completed" preparations for a third nuclear test, citing a "senior source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing."
U.S. officials said it would not be surprising should North Korea go ahead with a test, given its history of following missile tests with other provocative actions. However, a senior U.S. military official told CNN's Mike Mount that the U.S. has "seen no overt indications that there is any movement afoot do" a nuclear test.
While reports of nuclear test preparations could not be confirmed, North Korea’s “trash talking” to the South points to the possibility, a senior administration official told CNN's Jill Dougherty.
In this regard, North Korea is following its traditional pattern, a U.S. official explained to CNN's Pam Benson.
“It’s not surprising that North Korea is escalating tensions with South Korea in the wake of its failed missile launch. Pyongyang is following a well-known script in preaching to Seoul that it will set the terms of the relationship," the official said. "The North has a range of options, including nontraditional ones, to provoke the South, and there’s always a risk that any provocation could backfire.”
The official would not speculate on what North Korea might do.
The White House spokesman warned North Korea against moves that would further inflame the situation.
North Korea “refrain from engaging in anymore hostile or provocative actions," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
North Korea said Monday that it would soon initiate "special actions" aimed at destroying the South Korean president and his government.
North Korean armed forces will use "unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style" to carry out the actions, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a report, adding that the operation would take three or four minutes.
It did not specify what those actions would involve.